I spent a lot of time, energy, trial, and error to find good, reasonably priced resources for my English students. I made this post to dump all this knowledge in one place. Hopefully it will be useful to English teachers, especially TAPIF program participants, that stumble across my blog:)
Songs for kids
There are a lot of great, free songs for kids on the internet. I am a firm believer that songs are one of the best tools in an ESL classroom for kids.
- Super Simple Songs
This channel has amazing songs for children, many of which are simple enough for absolute beginners. After one or two times of listening to ‘Do you like Broccoli Ice Cream?’ kids can ask, ‘Do you like?’ and respond ‘Yes I do’ or ‘No I don’t.’ Amazing!
This next song is great for teaching ‘Can’, as well as animals and simple action verbs.
Other songs that are great from this channel: Ten in the bed, How’s the Weather?, Walking in the jungle, I have a pet, Put on your shoes, Down by the bay (more advanced)
- Carolyn Graham-Jazz Chants for children method
I didn’t follow her method, but I did use some of her songs, including the Hello Song
This is the perfect song to sing the first lesson, especially with 6-8-year-olds. After singing it a few times, try going around and pointing to students to sing the solo part. Even if the first time they are shy and only want to say their name, it is ok.
- Dream English Kids
His songs are a bit cheesy and extremely simple but they are perfect for young beginners.
- Number rock
I sang this song a million and one times over the past two years. The kids brought it up constantly, ‘Can we sing the song with the moving house?‘
- ABC rock
By the same people as number rock- equally good.
- The greetings song
Another cheesy song, but perfect for teaching good morning, afternoon, evening, and night.
- This is a Cat!
A great, simple song for teaching animals!
- The to be song
This song was a go to for me when teaching ‘to be’ conjugation. The kids really rock out when it speeds up at the end.
The leprechaun song
On the cultural side of the spectrum, I showed this song to students when we talked about St. Patrick’s day
- We’re going to the zoo
A little more advanced but catchy.
- Hello Goodbye
Sometimes popular songs can be good too, like Hello Goodbye from the Beatles:)
Meg and Mog is a great resource. These short cartoons are simple and very visual. For absolute beginners it is helpful to pick out little bits of vocabulary and present them beforehand. I especially like the Christmas one!
- ESL Kid Stuff
I relied heavily on this site for my classes. I didn’t necessarily follow the lesson plans but their materials are awesome. Most lessons include flashcards, worksheets, songs, and storybooks that all integrate the same target vocabulary or grammar. It is a subscription service but at $29/year it doesn’t break the bank.
I also signed up for their newer sister site ESL Teen Stuff, but I wasn’t as happy with the quality of the materials. Stick to the kid one!
- La Classe de Mallory
This is a great free resource for teaching English culture to French children in grades CE2-CM2. Most of the cultural explanations are in French, with some vocabulary and an activity in English. Some of the subjects covered include Thanksgiving, Halloween, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and the Sydney Opera House. The site also has other English resources that I never used but would be worth looking through.
- LearnEnglish Kids -British council
This is a great free website for middle or advanced elementary school students. Their videos about famous historical figures’ lives and accompanying worksheets are professionally done. They also have short stories and fables that are appropriate for younger students.
- ISL Collective
ISL Collective is a large online powerpoint and worksheet resource. It is free but you have to make member account. You can upload worksheets to share with others and download worksheets that others have put on the site. The quality of materials varies because they are made by random people but there is some really great stuff to be found!
Workbooks for children
For one-on-one lessons with slightly more advanced young children I found two small workbooks that I loved.
- 100 Words that Kids Need to Read by _____ Grade
These workbooks are great for teaching vocabulary and practicing spelling with games! There are several different levels, from 1st-3rd grade. They run for about $4/book so they are very affordable!
100 Words Kids Need to Read by 1st Grade
- Scholastic Success with Reading Comprehension
These are even more advanced books for ESL children. I used them with a private lesson student that was attending a bilingual school. The activities on each page are creatively educational, providing ample opportunities to introduce and review vocabulary and check reading comprehension! There are 5 different level books, each less than $5.
Story Books for Children
Very simple, repetitive books are perfect to use in lessons. My favorites included:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? By Bill Martin Jr.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Teaching adults is completely different than teaching kids and finding the right resources is crucial to being successful.
- Market Leader
Market Leader is my go to book for business English learners. There are 5 different levels and free samples available online to try before committing to buy a book. They are on the expensive side at around $30/book. I find that only buying the student book is sufficient. The teacher’s book is not worth the extra money.
- English File
English File is the best resource I found for adults learning general English. The 6 level series’ lessons are really interesting and seamlessly integrate reading, writing, listening, and grammar. Like the Market leader books, they are expensive, and the teacher’s book is not necessary to buy.
- Hilfen English
This website is my favorite to use when I need to find additional explanations or practice questions on grammar points for my students.
I hope this is helpful! If you have any other ESL resources that you would like to share in the comments feel free!